07 Aug This Week On Tap: Mad Anthony’s Summer Daze, And An Ode To “Yes”
My tight-knit group of college friends (there’s six of us in one group chat alone) have dubbed 2015 the “Year of Yes.” It’s ridiculous, and only a little ironic, but we basically promised that we’d stop putting off things we want to do when we didn’t have a legitimate reason. Parker proposed to his longtime girlfriend Claire (she said yes too even though she isn’t in the group but we’ll allow it); Ted took that new job in Cincinnati, leaving his home in Boston; Chris signed up for a spartan race; and I’ve taken every opportunity I can to get on the highway, see some long-lost friends, drink strange beers, try new recipes, write new stories, read new books, and just add to my overall experience.
It’s kind of stupid, but not really. It’s incredibly easy to get bogged down in your usual choices. And, sometimes, you may not realize your usual choices aren’t even the best or most fulfilling choices. It’s like always doing a workout in the same sequence. Eventually, your body gets used to the sequence and gets nothing out of it. Going out and running through the same motion every day earns you nothing except safety, and where the hell is the fun in that?
A story: my friend Chris enrolled in graduate school at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne shortly after we graduated from Wittenberg University in 2011. He had been there for a few months when I came to visit him for the first time. I quickly took to the steely charm of Ft. Wayne and everywhere he had to show me until my last night of the visit.
We hopped into a cab for a bar he said, “was kind of fun. At least there will be people there.” We arrived shortly after at a joint called Flashbacks, an 80s-themed bar with all the aesthetics of a scene from the Wedding Singer yet none of the charm (or cleanliness. Ever had your winter boots stick to carpet?). After two overpriced Jack and Cokes, I made an executive decision and searched “bar” on Yelp for the nearest establishment that didn’t look like a regurgitated Poison concert. What we found was a dive bar billed as the “best live music bar and beer lineup in the city.”
A short mile walk in the snow led us to the Brass Rail, perhaps my favorite bar in the whole wide world, and a place Chris and I vow to visit as often as possible, even though he’s now in the South Bend area. It was there we heard the best garage punk around, drank Arctic Panzer Wolf for the first time, reminisced with hardcore bands about the advent of hardcore punk, and had the best nights of Chris’ time in Ft. Wayne, and all because we took a chance, said no to his normal haunts, and said yes to the dive bar a mile away in the snow.
Now, that’s a whole roundabout way (thanks for humoring me) of me getting to another great Ft. Wayne establishment: Mad Anthony Brewing Company. The brewery actually has four locations between Ft. Wayne, Auburn, Angola, and Warsaw, but has called the Ft. Wayne brewpub home since 1999. Mad Anthony pride themselves on having a little something for every beer lover that visits, and their diversified tap lineup demonstrates that fully.
Their Summer Daze wheat is a delicious seasonal that has a full body and color thanks to added caramel malt and honey, so much so that it almost drinks like a pale ale. A very refreshing summer beer with detectable lemon scent, with maybe a little orange. Fun fact: Summer Daze is the brewery’s first canned beer in their 17 years of production, and it just flat out works.
I don’t usually buy wheat beers in the store, but when I came across a four pack of Summer Daze at the Broad Ripple Big Red Liquors, I thought back to that night in the snow, and to this past year, and said, “Yes,” and I’m glad I did.